This violin was sold last year in collaboration with Reed Yeboah Fine Violins and Alberghini Fine Violins. It sold for a figure significantly in excess of $16,000,000, breaking the previous world record set by an Antonio Stradivari violin.
It is an exceptionally fine example of Guarneri del Gesù’s work from 1741; a period which exhibited his most experimental and glorious work. The violin is known as the “Vieuxtemps Stoutzker” after renowned violinist Henri Vieuxtemps and Ian Stoutzker, a private owner who previously loaned it to Yehudi Menuhin. Ian Stoutzker was also founder of Live Music Now. Last year the violin was acquired by a music patron for the limited and exclusive use of prominent American violinist Anne Akiko Meyers. In 2013, it was announced the Anne was selected to receive lifetime use of the “Vieuxtemps Stoutzker” Guarneri del Gesù, the most expensive violin ever sold, and considered to be one of the top violins ever created.
This magnificent cello was made by David Tecchler in Rome in 1698 and was sold by Beare’s to one of the world’s leading orchestras in 2009. Like the Sainton del Gesù, this instrument too has a link to the famous Flonzaley Quartet. It was purchased from Hill’s in 1912 by the quartet’s founder, Edward de Coppet, a banker, for Iwan D’Archambeau, and it is this instrument that appears on many of the important recordings made by this quartet that was so admired by the audiences of the time for its fine tone quality and elegance of performance. Before the Flonzaley Quartet, the cello belonged to the legendary English cellist Beatrice Harrison who performed on it when she became the youngest competitor and first cellist to win the Mendelssohn prize.
This is an outstanding example of Guadagnini’s late Turin period. It was in Turin that Guadagnini came into contact with Count Cozio. Through this contact he became very familiar with the work of Stradivari and his own output became even more imbued with Stradivari’s influence. In fact, during the years before his death in 1786, he actively promoted the myth that he was born in Cremona, and his labels stated that he had been a pupil of Stradivari. This instrument from 1784 was bought from Hill’s in 1886 and was first consigned to Beare’s for sale by that purchaser’s grand-daughter. Beare’s sold it to an eminent player and professor who ultimately reconsigned it for sale in 2009. Beare’s sold it again in 2010 to an eminent philanthropist.
Little is known of the history of this superb Guadagnini, apart from the fact that it was once in the collection of the leading Paris dealer Emile Francais, who almost certainly acquired it from an old French family. Guadagnini went to Piacenza as an apprentice and was soon in contact with many of the leading musicians of the day. In the decade or so that he spent there, he became the bestknown violin-maker in that part of Italy, and this glorious violin is certainly testament to his skills. Beare’s sold this fine-sounding violin in 2010 to an eminent philanthropist.
This magnificent cello is one of two examples featured here in our notable sales and one of only ten surviving cellos by this great maker. When Hills wrote their book on the Guarneri family in 1931, they only knew of six cellos by Pietro Guarneri. Since then another four have been identified of which this is one. Pietro’s instruments combine the classical tradition of violin making in Cremona with the originality of his Venetian colleagues, including Domenico Montagnana and Santo Serafin. Tonally this cello has the same characteristics, sounding slightly more Cremonese than Venetian. This instrument was sold by Beare’s in 2008 to a private buyer.
This famous del Gesù was Isaac Stern’s concert violin from 1947 until 1965. He then acquired the Ysaÿe as well, and liked to alternate them every six months in order to rest them. Stern always treated his violins with the greatest respect and this certainly helped keep the Panette in such fine condition. It was exhibited both in the Stradivari Bicentenary Exhibition in Cremona in 1937 and in the Guarneri del Gesù Exhibition in New York in 1994. This marvellous Guarneri, which was sold to the Vicomte de Panette (sic) by Vuillaume in 1847 was consigned to Beare’s for sale by the world-famous American connoisseur David Fulton. It was purchased by an enlightened financial institution for the use of a soloist.